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Summertime Strawberry Jam

It just isn't summer for me until I dig out my wooden, 6 quart berry baskets and go pickin' !

My Mom took me when I was knee high to a grasshopper and taught me everything I know...when the berries are ripe for the harvest, how to pop each juicy berry off the stem and how to make fresh strawberry jam!

This jam is the no-cook freezer jam variety which is very quick and in my opinion, the freshest tasting! If you are looking for preserves that are low in sugar, then this ain't your Huckleberry! (I said that with a southern accent...tell me you have seen the movie "Tombstone" with Val Kilmer??) Freezer jam requires pectin and a specific amount of sugar to fruit ratio in order for it to set properly.

First...wash and hull the stems off of your berries...I used to get into trouble for "wasting fruit" when I would hack off half of the strawberry when hulling for my can twist the stem off or use a knife to skim them off...just don't get into ain't pretty!

If you like smooth jam, pulse your fruit in a blender or food processor just until it reaches the consistency that you like...or if it's "lumpy" jam you crave, mash the berries with a potato masher, until you have 2 & 1/2 cups of prepared fruit...pour into a large bowl.

Add 3 & 1/2 cups of granulated sugar, then stir until it is all blended and set aside for ten minutes.

Next, grab a box of pectin (this one is the pectin crystals but you can also use liquid pectin)...

In a small saucepan, add 3/4 of a cup of cold water...

...and one package of pectin crystals.

Stir to combine and bring to a boil over medium heat...boil for one minute, stirring constantly to prevent scorching.

Remove from heat and pour into prepared fruit/sugar mixture...

...and stir for about three minutes...

Ladle jam into clean jars or plastic freezer containers...if using glass jars, do not fill right to the top as the frozen jam will expand and crack your jars! A canning funnel fits right into the jar opening and is very handy when filling...this avoids a lot of mess and swearing! Keep your filled jam jars on the counter for 24 hours before storing in the freezer.

Voila!...Summertime strawberry jam! I remember waking up to the smell of freshly baked bread that my Mom would make us for breakfast. She would slather the warm slices with butter and strawberry jam and I knew, as I polished off another piece, that summer had finally arrived!

Strawberry freezer jam

2 1/2 cups of pureed or mashed strawberries

3 1/2 cups granulated sugar

1 box of fruit pectin (prepared with 3/4 cup of water)

1. Mash or puree strawberries to equal 2 1/2 cups, pour into a large bowl and add 3 1/2 cups of granulated sugar...stir until well blended and set aside.

2. In a small saucepan, add 3/4 cup of water and 1 box of fruit pectin...stir over medium heat until it comes to a boil. Boil for one minute, stirring constantly to prevent scorching.

3. Remove from heat and pour into fruit/sugar mixture and stir for 3 minutes.

4. Ladle into clean jars or freezer containers...Let sit on counter for 24 hours before storing in the freezer.

* if you want less sugar, use 3 cups of mashed fruit and 3 cups of sugar...this will not set up as firm as the above recipe but is still pretty good...the original recipe from the directions out of the "certo" box, calls for 2 cups of prepared fruit to 4 cups of granulated sugar.

* a single batch of this jam makes one 250 ml and two 500ml jars.

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